Skip to content

The Pros and Cons of Using Social Media as a Recruiting Tool

Group of multicultural people men and women connected to each other by using digital mobile gadgets and computers

Quick look: Over 100 job applications are submitted on LinkedIn every second. Social media is the place to be for any organization looking to hire top talent, but with its perks come potential challenges. Here’s what to know about using social media as a recruiting tool and the advantages a PEO partnership can provide.

The use of social media has exploded over the past decade. And what started as places to share photos of your pets and favorite foods have now facilitated millions of candidates in their job hunts (and companies in their talent searches). Did you know that:

  • There are over 875 million LinkedIn members worldwide
  • Instagram has nearly 1.3 billion users
  • Approximately three billion users exist on Facebook
  • There are about 205 million daily active users on Twitter
  • While relatively new, TikTok already has over 1 billion monthly active users
  • Job review site Glassdoor has 67 million unique monthly visitors

While the above statistics focus on overall user numbers, specific data regarding social media recruiting also exists. According to LinkedIn, the platform:

  • Receives 101 job applications per second
  • Is used by 52 million people each week to search for jobs
  • Facilitates eight hires every minute

Glassdoor boasts similarly impressive data. According to the site:

  • 86% of employees and job seekers decide where to apply for a job by researching company reviews and ratings on Glassdoor
  • 5% of job seekers are likely to apply to a job if the organization actively manages its employer brand
  • 83% of its users are actively looking for jobs or are open to new opportunities
  • Many different generations judge a company on its social presence—specifically, 68% of millennials, 54% of Gen-X, and 48% of baby boomers do this

Social media has a major impact on people’s personal and professional lives. With so many users turning to these sites to find their next career move, businesses should revisit their social recruiting strategy. But what advantages are associated with using social media as a recruiting tool, and what should organizations watch out for when using these networks to scout talent?

Benefits of using social media as a recruiting tool

Social recruiting has become a strategic asset for businesses. From exposing untapped pools of talent to allowing hiring managers to paint a more complete picture of a candidate, there are many advantages of using social media to recruit employees.

More options for talent sourcing

The internet has created more ways to source candidates than ever before.

In addition to sharing job postings on social media sites, recruiters can also network with potential talent by connecting with them on professional platforms like LinkedIn. They can also search for keywords, hashtags, and groups specific to the roles they are looking to fill, allowing them to meet people they may not have otherwise. Networking in this way with passive talent can pay off—while these individuals may not be job hunting now, you’re more likely to be on their radar when they search for their next opportunity. The brand awareness that is cultivated by companies being present on social media can also contribute to this passive talent pool.

Levels the playing field for SMBs

Traditionally, paying for job advertising was the primary way for businesses to attract candidates, and naturally, the organizations with the largest budgets tended to be the most successful.

Although sponsored and paid posts exist across social media, it’s relatively free to create accounts and post on major platforms. This, paired with the ability to spread awareness of your company’s job openings organically, has leveled the playing field for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that may not have the budgets of their enterprise-level competitors. And if social platforms produce successful hires, they may help your business lower recruiting costs.

Increases your visibility

Gen Z – or those born between 1996 and 2012 – grew up as a digital-first generation and love social media. They’re also predicted to comprise 27% of the workforce by 2025.

Social media can help SMBs appeal to this massive wave of talent. And since Gen Z values flexibility, work/life balance, professional development opportunities, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), employers may want to communicate these aspects on their social media accounts. Doing so can help potential Gen Z talent evaluate if their values and priorities align with yours.

More robust data

The performance data available for social media posts and advertisements can be game-changing. SMBs can determine how well their content is doing by reviewing:

  • The number of clicks, views, and comments a post receives
  • How much traffic the posts have driven to the company’s career website or other corporate webpages
  • How many of the applicants who came from social media are qualified for the roles, how many are offered jobs, and how many accept positions

Traditional HR metrics are also important to track, including the top sources for hires, the average time to fill, overall offer acceptance rate, cost per hire, and more.

Paints a clearer picture for everyone involved

You can learn a lot about a person by reviewing their professional social media profiles, and over 70% of hiring decision-makers agree that these platforms are effective for applicant screening.

Business leaders and hiring managers can use platforms like LinkedIn to view groups that candidates belong to, learn more about their skills and interests, identify mutual connections and gain a more personal referral, and easily view their recommendations.

This clarity goes both ways. Social media also enables talent to scope out a company before they apply. Learning about the organization before the interview process begins is an excellent way for candidates to determine if they are the right fit for the business. This can help companies save time and money by avoiding moving a person through the hiring process only to find out they aren’t interested.

Potential challenges of social recruiting

There are various benefits associated with using social media as a recruiting tool—but there are possible downsides that SMBs must be aware of, too.

Could increase bias

Social media serves up more information than ever about candidates. While this helps hiring managers to understand someone’s skills, interests, and background, it can also increase the risk of conscious or unconscious bias during the screening, interviewing, and hiring processes.

Employers can train their workers to avoid this by providing access to a learning and development portal with training on topics like unconscious bias, workplace diversity, harassment prevention, and more.

Exposes your reputation—for better or for worse

The internet allows people to voice their opinion about your organization, whether they love it or have complaints about it.

While replying to positive feedback is simple (always say thank you!), even businesses with the best intentions will sometimes receive a negative comment or review on social media. What matters the most is that you respond to these appropriately. This could look like thanking the person for taking the time to reach out, avoiding debating with them, providing helpful next steps if possible, and reporting any incorrect or damaging commentary.

Can create internal skills gaps

Each social media platform has its best practices, and SMBs must have staff trained in using these tools to recruit relevant talent successfully. Reskilling or upskilling employees to perform these tasks is one way to achieve this.

And because your organization’s social media accounts are public-facing, your HR department should create a social recruiting strategy that aligns with the company’s overall branding and communications initiatives.

A partner to help you reach your recruiting goals

Whether you call it the Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle, or something else, hiring and retaining top talent has been tricky over the last few years. Add mastering multiple social media platforms into the mix, and any HR leader can easily become overwhelmed.

Partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) can relieve some of the burden. In addition to providing HR and payroll services, benefits administration and management, and risk and compliance expertise, some PEOs also offer recruiting assistance.

For example, ExtensisHR, a nationally recognized PEO, offers following full-cycle recruiting services at no added cost, which include:

  • Unlimited 30-minute phone consultations with a recruiting specialist
  • Sourcing for most staff-level positions
  • Job advertisement creation
  • Salary surveys
  • Skills assessments
  • Offer letter consultations
  • And more

Social media can be a powerful recruiting tool if you know how to use it. Contact the experts at ExtensisHR today to learn more about how we can simplify your search.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

blob - green

Our expert advice, direct to your inbox.

blob - yellow